Back in 2008, Rich Hickey gave a talk introducing Clojure and its design to Lispers in Boston. He went into some really great discussion about why Clojure is the way it is. Now remember, this was at a time when people were into Lisp, but the best choice out there for production work was Common Lisp. There were many attempts to port Lisp to the JVM, with varying success, but nothing standing out. This transcript is a real gem that captures the moment and yet remains a timeless glimpse into the design of Clojure.
Video 1, Video 2